Animas High School students broke out in spontaneous line dancing Friday as a bluegrass band jammed in the school’s parking lot.
Songs From The Road, a band from Asheville, North Carolina, visited the school as Tunes Ambassadors from the Can’d Aid Foundation. The Longmont-based foundation supports music in schools, natural disaster recovery, environmental protection and trail development.
The nonprofit also donated $1,500 in new keyboards, guitars, basses and other gear to the music program at AHS.
“It’s letting our program and the students in it thrive,” said Alissa Wolf, executive director of iAM MUSIC, a Durango nonprofit that offers music classes at the high school. In the past, the nonprofit’s staff members had to bring equipment back and forth to the high school because they didn’t have instruments for everyone.
As Tunes Ambassadors, Songs From the Road band members generally surprise students at disadvantaged schools across the country with concerts and new instruments, said Charles Humphrey, the bass player.
“Their faces will just light up,” he said.
Schools selected for donations typically align with a band’s touring schedule.
Sean Woytek, head of school at AHS, said the school was lucky to be selected because Can’d Aid usually selects more urban schools for donations. AHS also received its donation a few weeks ahead of the concert, he said.
Many schools are in need of music equipment particularly in Colorado because of tight funding for education, he said.
“(Music) is pretty cost intensive, so it tends to be one of the first programs to be cut,” he said.
iAM MUSIC provides music education at AHS, Big Picture High School and The Liberty School, Wolf said. AHS students learn music theory, performance skills and the business side of the music industry so they can form their own bands if they choose, she said.
“We try to make it as real as possible,” she said.